Review: The Piano Lesson Hits the Right Notes

October 13, 2022, 8:01.32 pm ET  

The Piano Lesson, Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington
Photos: Julieta Cervantes                                                                                          

By Brian Scott Lipton

It may be true that those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it, but what about those who know it and choose to ignore it? What fate befalls them? That question looms large in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “The Piano Lesson” – the fourth play in his “Pittsburgh Cycle” -- which is now receiving a high-octane Broadway revival at the Barrymore Theatre.

The Piano Lesson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Fisher

 The Piano Lesson, Danielle Brooks

For the brash Boy Willie, brought to blazing life by John David Washington in a highly memorable Broadway debut, the history of his family piano, intricately carved by his great-grandfather with the faces of his ancestors, is secondary to what the instrument can do for his future. He wants to sell the piano (which will fetch over $1000) so he can return to the south and buy the land where he works – and on which his family were slaves. Continue reading...


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